Newcastle United are set to test Montpellier's resolve on their £12million-rated playmaker Remy Cabella again this week – as they prepare to finalise a deal that will see Mathieu Debuchy move to Arsenal.
Aware of Montpellier’s intransigence over Cabella, United are playing a cagey game with the Ligue 1 side and have been told by sources close to the midfielder that the French club’s president Louis Nicollin is standing firm over a valuation that Newcastle consider to be too high.
But there are set to be a fresh round of talks between Montpellier and the player’s agent this week now that France have returned from the World Cup – and that could pave a way for a deal to be done. Cabella is understood to be keen on a move to the North East and Yohan Cabaye gave him a glowing reference about life in the North East.
Given the way Montpellier were burned over Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa handing in a transfer request to push through a transfer to St James’ Park 18 months ago, United know that any deal will be hard fought.
Their initial informal offer of around £7.5million was way short of what Montpellier are looking for and prompted derision from Nicollin. But attempts to try and smoke out interest from around Europe at his desired price tag have failed, with Newcastle still looking like the most realistic suitors for the player.
United expect to lose Debuchy to Arsenal in the coming days with a fee of around £8 million agreed – although Newcastle have used the negotiations to mention Joel Campbell to the Gunners. Arsenal have proposed a loan deal as part of the transfer although Newcastle – who have other strike targets – may yet decide to take a straight cash deal.
Newcastle believe they will be able to secure a replacement quickly for the France international and have been offered England defender Micah Richards as well as Carl Jenkinson of Arsenal. But their number one target remains Feyenoord’s Daryl Janmaat, who is keen to move to St James’ Park to join compatriots Vurnon Anita, Tim Krul and new signing Siem de Jong.
United believe they can do that deal for around £5million although Holland’s participation in the World Cup will delay any announcement.
As Newcastle returned to business at Benton, midfielder Anita hailed the addition of de Jong to their pack this season. The pair came through the ranks together at Ajax’s famed Academy.
“Siem is a very good player who I played with at every level at Ajax, from the youth teams through to the first team,” Anita said.
“We also played together in the Dutch national youth teams together, so I know him very well. He’s a great guy, a great player. I’m pleased he has joined Newcastle.”